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Vol. 89, Nos. 7 & 8, September & October 1978 



157 



SURVEY OF HEMIPTERA COLLECTED ON COMMON 
MILKWEED, ASCLEPIASSYRIACA, AT ONE 
SITE IN OHIO.' 



Patrick J. Dailey^ , Robert C. Graves^ , Jon L. Herring^ 



ABSTRACT: Hemiptera frequenting 337 plants of common m\\k}NQtd,Asclepiassyriaca 
were surveyed by daily collecting for a period of 90 consecutive days. Forty-six species 
are listed, some of which are probably new Ohio records. Five species were considered 
to be significantly abundant (more than 50 individuals collected): Lygaeus kalmii, 
Lygus lineolaris, Plagiogfiathus politus, Adelphocoris lineolatus, and Cosrnopepla bi- 
maculata. Only L. kalmii (1,173 individuals collected) and 0?icopeltus fasciatus, which 
was relatively scarce, are host specific. 

The common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca L. (Asclepiadaceae), is a her- 
baceous perennial which is widely distributed in eastern United States, and 
is frequent along roads and in fields. It occurs in large stands or as solitary 
plants. A. syriaca is unusual in that it can reproduce vegetatively and as a 
result is a highly successful colonist (Wilbur, 1976). The pinkish flowers are 
borne on large umbels, and the numerous, wind-borne seeds develop in large 
pods. 

Certain species of milkweed-specific Hemiptera such as Lygaeus kalmii and 
Oncopeltus fasciatus are readily maintained in the laboratory and have 
been extensively studied (e.g., Caldwell 1974, Dingle 1968, Feir 1974, 
Kelton 1975, Ralph 1977, Rothschild 1973). 

The only major previous attempt to survey milkweed insects in the United 
States was that of Weiss and Dickerson (1921). These authors listed 8 species 
of Hemiptera collected from A. syriaca in scattered localities in New Jersey, 
with no attempt at daily collecting, and no information on numbers of in- 
dividuals present. The present study lists 45 species of Hemiptera from a 
single site in Bowling Green, Ohio with numerical data obtained by daily 
collecting during a 90-day period (Table 1). The daily abundance of 4 com- 
mon species is shown in Figure 1 . 



'Accepted for publication: May 24, 1978 
2 

Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, 
Ohio 43403 

^Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department 
of Agriculture, c/o U.S. National Museum, Washington, D.C. 20560 

ENT. NEWS, 89: 7 & 8: 157 - 162, September & October 1978 



158 



ENTOMOLOGICAL NEWS 



MATERIALS AND METHODS 

The study site, a railroad right-of-way located in Bowhng Green, Wood 
County, Ohio, was chosen because it was neither sprayed nor mowed during 
the entire season. Witliin this area (18.29 x 99.4 m.) 337 milkweed plants 
were investigated. Most plants were randomly distributed throughout the 
study area, but there were several clumps of 5-15 plants. Flowering began 
June 15 and continued into early September. 

Hemiptera were hand-picked or aspirated from each of these 337 plants 
daily for 90 consecutive days (June 9-September 6, 1976). In addition 
four late-season collections were made (Sept. 12, 18, 25, and Oct. 4). Col- 
lecting was done between noon and 6:00 PM. Specimens were preserved in 
85% ethanol to be sorted, counted and determined as time permitted. 

All insects were removed from the plants each day. Therefore those 
collected the following day were individuals wliich had moved onto the 
milkweed plants during the preceding 24-hour period (the only exceptions 
to this would be the first collection, June 9, and the four late-season col- 
lections). 



RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 

The 45 species of Hemiptera collected on A. syriaca are listed in Table 1. 
Five of these species were each represented by 50 or more individuals and 
are considered “abundant” (Lygus lineolaris, Plagiognathus politus, Adel- 
phocoris lineolatus, Lygaeus kalmii, and Cosmopepla bimaculata). All of 
these species were present throughout the collecting period except for P, 
politiis which was not collected from July 17 to August 12. 

Adults of Lygaeus kalmii, the most abundant species of Hemiptera, 
overwinter, and emerge from hibernacula near milkweed patches in the 
spring (Caldwell 1974). Nymphs and adults feed on the juices of green milk- 
weed plants during the growing season (Simanton and Andre 1936). Nymphs 




Figure 1. Graph illustrating the number of individuals of the most common species 
of Hemiptera collected each day from Asclepias syriaca plants. 



Vol. 89, Nos. 7 & 8, September & October 1978 



159 



were collected early in the season, most commonly at the base of plants, and 
seldom near the apex. If disturbed, they quickly dispersed into the gravel 
bed along the railroad tracks. Although 152 nymphs of various stadia were 
collected throughout the entire period, they represented only 13% of the 
total, wliich would indicate that a large percentage of nymphs were not 
on the A. syriaca plants when collections were made. The population in this 
area is the eastern subspecies, L. k. angiistornargimtus Parshley (Slater 
and Knop 1969). 

Another host-specific species, Oncopeltiis fasciatus was rare at the col- 
lecting site in 1976, although in the summer of 1977 an aggregation of 
nymphs was observed at the study site on 2 milkweed plants (10-20 nymphs 
per plant). Aggregations of adults were seen in October 1978 at New 
Rochester, and at Portage, both in Wood County, Ohio. 

The tarnished plant bug, Lygiis lineolaris, is the most common mirid in 
the eastern United States, frequents many plant species (Knight 1941), and 
is one of the most widely distributed species in North America where it is 
found in all agricultural regions at both low and relatively high altitudes 
(Kelt on 1975). Adults overwinter beneath leaves and in mullein rosettes 
(Watson 1928). Individuals of L. lineolahs were most commonly observed 
in the folded apical leaves where they were apparently feeding. 

Adelpliocoris lineolatus, the alfalfa plant bug, was also common, frequently 
on the apical portion of the plants, from which they take flight quickly when 
disturbed. According to Knight (1941), tliis species seems to prefer legumes, 
but may also feed on flower buds and newly formed seeds. 

Plagiognathiis politus feeds on various weeds, especially ragweed {Ambrosia 
spp.) and goldenrod (Solidago spp.), and has been successfully reared on ap- 
ple (Pyrus ffialus), where the nymphs fed on tender foliage (Watson 1928, 
Knight 1941). 

The last of the “abundant” hemipteran species, Cosmopepla biniaculata, 
is a general feeder and has been recorded from all geographical areas in Oliio 
between April 27 and October 19 (Furth 1974). Detailed host and biological 
data for this species are given in Esselbaugh (1948). 

Many of the other species Usted in Table 1 are considered to be only 
temporary visitors to Asclepias syriaca, and in some instances, these are 
associated with other plant species. Podisus maculiventris, Phymata fasciata, 
Sinea diadema, and Nabis spp. are ail predaceous on other insects and their 
occurrence on milkweed is incidental to their search for prey. Individuals 
of Phymata fasciata often lie in wait for prey in the flower heads and have 
been observed to capture flies and small Hymenoptera which visit the flowers. 

Of the 45 species collected, 19 were mirids, 7 were lygaeids, and 4 were 
pentatomids. These three families included all of the most common species; 
no species in any other families were represented by more than 1 5 individuals 
during the entire collecting period. 



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ENTOMOLOGICAL NEWS 



Table 1. Hemiptera collected on Asclepias syriaca in Bowling Green, Ohio 



ANTHOCORIDAE 
Oriiis insidiosiis (Say) 

MIRIDAE 

Neurocolpus mibilus (Say) 
Leptoptema dolohrata (Linn^ 

Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois) 
Reuteroscopus ormtiis (Reuter) 
Trigonotylus sp. 

Ilnacora sp. 

Qiocoris saliens (Reuter) 
Flagiogfiathus albatus Van Duzee 
Plagiogfiathus politus Uhler 
Flagiogfiathus sp. 

Hy abodes vitripennis (Say) 
Oilamydatus sp. 

Ceratocapsus sp. 

Amblytylus nasutus (Kiischbaum) 
Capsus a ter (Linne) 

Taedia scrupeus (Say) 

Foecilocapsus lineatus (Fabricius) 
Adelphocoris rapidus (Say) 
Adelphocoris lineolatus (Goeze) 
NABIDAE 

Nabis subcoleoptratus (Kirby) 

Nabis roseipennis Reuter 
Nabis americoferus Carayon 
REDUVIIDAE 

Sinea diadema (Fabricius) 
PHYMATIDAE 

Fhyniata fasciata (Gray) 
PIESMATIDAE 

Fiestiia cinereum (Say) 

LYGAEIDAE 

Lygaeus kalmii Stal 
Oncopeltus fasciatus (Dallas) 
Fhlegyas abbreviatus (Uhler) 
Ortholomus scolopax (Say) 
Fachybrachius bilobatus (Say) 



Total Individuals 

Collected Dates Collected 



11 


20-VI to 23-VIIl 


14 


17-Vl to 10-VIII 


2 


12-VI to 22-VI 


204 


12-VI to4-X* 


30 


19-VI to 6-IX 


2 


10-VIII to 14-VIII 


2 


26-VI 


1 


13-VI 


1 


16-VI 


248 


13-VI to 12-IX* 


1 


14-VI 


1 


4-VIII 


2 


6-VII to 12-VII 


1 


2-VIII 


12 


10-VI to 17-VI 


1 


18-VI 


1 


10-VIII 


2 


10-VI to 24-VI 


1 


28-VII 


137 


10-VI to 25-IX* 


6 


9-VI to 3-VII 


1 


23-VI 


8 


23-VI to 10-VIII 


17 


11 -VI to 18-IX 


11 


19-VI to 25-IX 


2 


13-VI to 14-VI 


1,173 


9-VI to 4-X* 


4 


15-VII to 27-VIII 


10 


25 -VI to 27-VII 


6 


9-vni to 2-IX 


6 


9-VIII to 6-IX 



Vol. 89, Nos. 7 & 8, September & October 1978 



161 



Nysius ericae (Schilling) 


1 


2-VlI 


Blissus leucopterus (Say) 


1 


25-VII 


BERYTIDAE 






Jalysus spinosus (Say) 


4 


25-Vll to 18-IX 


Berytinus minor (Herrich-Schaffer) 


1 


13-VII 


RHOPALIDAE 






Leptocoris trivittatus (Say) 


9 


18-VII to 4-X 


Stictopleurus crassicornis (Linne) 


1 


18-lX 


Harmostes reflexulus (Say) 


1 


4-VIll 


ALYDIDAE 






Alydus eurinus (Say) 


2 


20-VI to 18-lX 


PENTATOMIDAE 






Cosmopepla bimaculata (Thomas) 


79 


17-Vl to 4-X 


Euschistus variolarius (Paiisot de 


11 


26-Vl to 4-X 


Beauvois) 

Euschistus tristigmus (Say) 


1 


24-Vll 


Podisus maculiventris (Say) 


11 


15 -VI to 18-IX 


Unidentified nymphs 
CYDNIDAE 


19 


20-VI to 12-IX 


Sehirus cinctus (Paiisot de 


15 


22-VI to 27-VII 


Beauvois) 






TINGIDAE 






Corythucha tnarmorata (Uhler) 


2 


17-VI to 18-VI 



*CoUecting data represented graphically in Fig. 1 . 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 

We thank Dr. R. C. Froeschner of the United States National Museum, Washington, 
D.C. for making several of the determinations. 



REFERENCES CITED 

Caldwell, R.L. 1974. A comparison of the migratory strategies of two milkweed bugs 
Oncopeltus fasciatus and Lygaeus kalmii. In L.B. Browne (ed.). Experimental analy- 
sis of insect behaviour. Springer-Verlag, New York. 

Dingle, H. 1968. Life history and population consequences of density, photoperiod, 
and temperature in a migrant insect, the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus. Amer. Natur. 
102: 149-63. 

Esselbaugh, Charles O. 1948. Notes on the bionomics of some midwestern Pentatomidae. 
Entomologica Americana 28 (1&2): 1-73. 

Feir, Dorothy. 1974. Oncopeltus fasciatus: a research animal. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 
19: 81-96. 

Furth, D.G. 1974. The stink bugs of Ohio (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Bull. Ohio 
Biol. Survey new series 5(1): 60 pp. 



162 



ENTOMOLOGICAL NEWS 



Kelton, Leonard A. 1975. The Lygiis bugs (genus Lygiis Hahn) of North America 
(Heteroptera: Miridae). Mem. Can. Entomol. Soc., No. 95, 101 pp. 

Knight, H.H. 1941. The plant bugs or Miridae of Illinois. Bull. 111. St. Nat. Hist. Surv., 
No. 22,234 pp. 

Ralph, Carol P. 1977. Search behavior of the large milkweed bug, Oncopeltiis fasciatus 
(Hemiptera; Lygaeidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 70: 33742. 

Rothschild, Miriam. 1973. Secondary plant substances and warning coloration in insects. 
In Insect/plant relationships (H. F. van Emden, ed.). Sympos. Royal Entomol. Soc. 
London, No. 6, 215 p. Blackwell. 

Simanton, W.A., and F. Andre. 1936. A biological study of Lygaeus kalmii Stal 
(Hemiptera; Lygaeidae). Bull. Brooklyn Ent. Soc. 31: 99-107. 

Slater, J.A., and W. F. Knop. 1969. Geographic variation in the North American milk- 
weed bugs of the Lygaeus kalmii complex. Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 62: 1 221-32. 

Watson, F. 1928. The Miridae of Ohio. Bull. Ohio Biol. Survey, No. 33, 43 pp. 

Weiss, H.B., and E. L. Dickerson. 1921, Notes on milkweed insects in New Jersey. 
J. New York Entomol. Soc. 29: 123-45. 

Wilbur, H.M. 1976. Life history evolution in seven milkweeds of the genus A sclepias. 
J. Ecol. 64: 22340. 



ADDENDUM 

The Coleoptera portion of this survey is scheduled for publication in December, 1978 
as follows: 

Dailey, P.J., R.C. Graves and J.M. Kingsolver. 1978. Survey of Coleoptera collected on 
the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca at one site in Ohio. Coleopt, Bull. 32 
(in press).